Sunday, March 29, 2015

U.S. Army Seeks SWIR Camouflage Solution for Standard Fabrics

Why bother developing a camouflage optimized to be concealed by advanced night vision devices, when you can just have the industry develop technology to conceal any pattern/color being utilized. The U.S. Army is looking to the industry on concepts for developing SWIR camouflage for common military fabrics with standard camouflage/colors. Interestingly this includes the Marine Corps Woodland and Desert Digital Patterns as well as Coyote for Nylon Gear. 

Could these camo options be the bookend patterns for their respective environments or is the Army just lending a hand to the Marines for the development of this same technology? Operational Camouflage Pattern is also in the mix, which we have yet to see come to fruition for mass issuance. We have provided the full "Request for Concept Papers Below": 

The US Army Natick Soldier, Research, Development, and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) is requesting concept papers that addresses Short Wave Infrared (SWIR) camouflage to be proposed under the NSRDEC's Broad Agency Announcement for Basic and Applied Research, Solicitation Number W911QY-15-R-0016 under section VI - Scientific and Technical Areas of Interest, Part C. Warfighter Systems Technologies, Topic Area 7, Countersurveillance. The BAA Solicitation can be found at 

The goal of this project is to develop and apply Short Wave Infrared (SWIR) signature reducing technology to several base fabrics while maintaining acceptable Visible (VIS) and Near Infrared (NIR) signatures. Several iterations of camouflage prints are anticipated as the apparent reflectance of each printed material will be assessed, and compared to SWIR target values. It is expected that several changes to the reflectance levels of the camouflage prints will need to be made throughout the project as modifications are made to the SWIR target values so to achieve desired performance under various environmental conditions. Comfort, durability, colorfastness and signature properties of each fabric variation of print/substrate will be evaluated. 

Concept papers should include generalized information to initially start discussions leading to a proposal submission for award of a multi-phased research and development contract. Concept papers should include a description of your effort on one of the preferred substrates but could also include options to print various camouflage patterns on different substrate materials including Flame Resistant (FR) textiles. Camouflage patterns and substrate materials of interest are provided below. Initial SWIR target reflectance values should have at least 3 levels of reflectance with evident separation among them. The highest SWIR reflectance level should be approximately 65%, while a mid-range level should be approximately 45% and a low-range level at approximately 25%. Textile printing techniques and colorants may need to be adjusted depending on the visible and near infrared requirements of each camouflage print or substrate fabric. If needed, government personnel and equipment to test SWIR reflectance properties of textile printed materials can be made available to provide onsite support for initial assessment of the printed materials. 

Vendors are asked to propose to print on one or more of the following fabric substrates. Other military fabrics will also be considered as optional tasks - 

Flame Resistant Defender-M (FR-DEFM) fabric 
Flame Resistant ResQ2 (FR-ResQ2) fabric 
100% Nylon 500D (Ny500D) fabric 
100% Nylon 1000D (Ny1000D) fabric 
Other military fabrics, TBD (other) (optional) 

Camouflage patterns include: 
Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) 
Marine Corps Desert (MARPAT D) 
Marine Corps Woodland (MARPAT W) 
Marine Corps Coyote solid (MC Coyote) 

The following is a preferred list of fabric/camouflage pattern combinations for the initial work: 
Flame Resistant Defender-M (FR-DEFM)/Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) 
Flame Resistant ResQ2 (FR-ResQ2) fabric/Marine Corp Desert (MARPAT D) 
Flame Resistant ResQ2 (FR-ResQ2) fabric/Marine Corp Woodland (MARPAT W) 
100% Nylon 500D (Ny500D) fabric/Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) 
100% Nylon 1000D (Ny1000D) fabric/Marine Corps Coyote (MC Coyote) solid 
Other: 50/50% Nylon/Cotton (NyCo) ripstop fabric/Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) 

Concept papers may include a list of potential contract deliverables such as the following, but not limited to; fabric print trials for evaluation in the VIS, Near IR, and SWIR spectral regions, and small quantities of fabric (approximately 100 yard each) after meeting initial and adjusted SWIR target values, small quantities (approximately 10) of uniforms and equipment constructed out of the appropriate fabrics, technical progress reports and a complete scientific report detailing all development work and findings, to include dyestuff formulations and ratios, printing and processing techniques to achieve the final result of each delivered printed material. While there is no guarantee that a subsequent solicitation will be issued and/or a contract awarded, currently, it is the government's preference and its intention to obtain at least government purpose rights in all deliverables created, generated or produced under any contract effort. 

Respondents should describe in their concept papers their suggested technologies and identify how their technology offers a level of camouflage protection within thirty (30) days following the publication of this RFI. Information should include, but is not limited to, technical test data (e.g. physical properties/performance characteristics, test methodology (e.g. ASTM and AATCC), certification/compliance, status and specifications for manufacturing and production, any unique or proprietary construction requirements related to the technology, costs, relevant company background/experience, and any other information that the respondent believes demonstrates the value of their technologies and the ability to meet the aforementioned desired performance. All textile-based technology products (all materials and manufacturing) must comply with Berry Amendment Restrictions (see DFARS 252.225-7012). 

This request for concept papers does not constitute a solicitation or the issuance thereof. All information received in response to this request for concept papers that is marked proprietary will be handled accordingly. Responses to this request for concept papers are not offers and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract. Any information/samples submitted will not be returned, and no payment will be made by the government for such information/samples. Any testing results will be controlled and used for governmental purposes only. 

Responses to this notice are to be sent to Mr. James Fairneny or Mrs. Anabela Dugas, Fiber and Textile Science Team, ATTN: RDNS-SEW-TMF, 15 Kansas St., Natick, MA 01760-5019. This notice is for concept papers only. THIS IS NOT A REQUEST FOR QUOTATIONS. No solicitation document exists. POC for this request is James Fairneny or Anabela Dugas (508) 233-5209/4437, FAX (508) 233-4630 or Email your questions to US Army Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center to or to